Patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) can develop solid kidney masses from childhood. Imaging surveillance is done to detect renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and angiomyolipomas (AML), including AMLs at risk for hemorrhage. Intravenous contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) may be useful for screening as ultrasound is well tolerated by children and ultrasound contrast agents (UCA) are not nephrotoxic.
Retrospective review of kidney CEUS exams of pediatric TSC patients. Qualitative CEUS analysis by consensus of 3 radiologists assessed rate, intensity, and pattern of lesion enhancement. Quantitative CEUS analysis was performed using Vuebox®. Where available, abdominal MRI was analyzed qualitatively for the same features and quantitatively by in-house-developed software. Time-intensity curves were generated from both CEUS and MRI where possible. Appearance of lesions were compared between CEUS and MRI and histology where available.
Nine masses in 5 patients included one histologically proven RCC and 8 AMLs diagnosed by imaging. Quantitative CEUS of RCC showed malignant features including increased peak enhancement 162%, rapid wash-in rate 162%, and elevated washout rate 156% compared to normal kidney tissue; versus AML which was 68%, 105%, and 125%, respectively. All masses were hypoenhancing on MRI compared to normal kidney tissue; MR dynamic contrast study offered no distinction between RCC and AML. The only MRI feature differentiating RCC from AML was absence of fat.
Temporal resolution afforded by CEUS was useful to distinguish malignant from benign kidney masses. CEUS may prove useful for screening, characterizing, and follow-up of kidney lesions in pediatric TSC patients.
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Chan, J.P., Back, S.J., Vatsky, S. et al. Utility of contrast-enhanced ultrasound for solid mass surveillance and characterization in children with tuberous sclerosis complex: an initial experience. Pediatr Nephrol 36, 1775–1784 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00467-020-04835-6
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound